GOLD2024

Womens Justice Initiative Inc

aka Iniciativa de los Derechos de la Mujer   |   New York, NY   |  http://www.womens-justice.org

Mission

The Women’s Justice Initiative (WJI) improves the lives of indigenous Guatemalan women and girls through education, access to legal services, and gender-based violence prevention.

Ruling year info

2011

Executive Director

Katharine Flatley

Main address

PO Box 21540

New York, NY 10087-1540 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

30-0681223

NTEE code info

Women's Rights (R24)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Guatemala faces some of the highest levels of violence against women and girls (VAWG), corruption, and impunity in the world. VAWG is one of the most oppressive forms of gender inequality and stands as a fundamental barrier to equal participation of women and men in social, economic, and political spheres. Rural, indigenous women are disproportionately impacted by violence in part due to social isolation, weak institutions, and limited access to resources. Social services and government institutions are concentrated in Guatemala’s cities and rarely reach rural areas. These services are typically only offered in Spanish, and not in Mayan languages. Child marriage and early pregnancy are also prevalent in Guatemala: 30% of girls marry before the age of 18 and one out of every five babies is born to a girl aged 19 or younger. Indigenous girls marry in adolescence more frequently than their non-indigenous peers.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Legal Services Program

The Legal Services Program provides free legal services directly to women in need by bringing lawyers and paralegals to their communities and by providing bilingual Mayan Kaqchikel-Spanish resources. WJI’s mobile legal outreach ensures that the most marginalized women, who may not be able to leave their homes or communities, can access legal support and counseling. In doing so, WJI greatly expands women’s access to justice.

The Legal Services Program advises clients on a range of legal issues, including domestic violence, property rights, inheritance, and family law. The program focuses on combatting gender-based violence and securing women’s economic rights, through land titling and registration, child support, alimony, and paternity cases.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples
Women and girls

The Women’s Rights Education Program is a six-month legal literacy and empowerment course that educates women on asserting and protecting their rights. Women receive training on issues that affect many of them, including domestic violence, sexual and reproductive rights, and property rights and inheritance. The program provides skill-building workshops, focusing on leadership, decision-making, and communication skills.

By increasing women’s legal literacy and building their leadership capacity, WJI provides participants with the tools to better protect their rights and improve their lives.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Indigenous peoples

The Community Advocates Program trains indigenous women to become leaders and changemakers in their communities. WJI selects graduates of its Women’s Rights Education Program to participate in a two-year training program that combines comprehensive human rights education with leadership development.

Through the program, these women become leaders, women’s rights educators, and mentors to their peers. They multiply WJI’s impact by facilitating workshops in their communities and providing accompaniment to women seeking legal services from WJI.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Indigenous peoples

WJI works with key stakeholders to protect girls and end child marriage in rural Guatemala.

WJI’s Adolescent Girls Program works to prevent early and forced marriage through the implementation of community-based interventions and protection mechanisms. The program improves girls’ knowledge of their rights; transforms local norms that condone child marriage; and ensures parents and community leaders take action to delay early marriage.

Through a yearlong course, WJI teaches girls the skills to assert their rights, delay marriage, and achieve their personal goals. Through workshops with parents on delaying marriage and improving gender equality, WJI works to ensure girls have the support they need in their homes.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Adolescents

WJI also works to improve indigenous women's access to justice by strengthening the ability of the justice system to respond to cases of violence against women and girls (VAWG). WJI trains key service providers, including local judges, the Municipal Women's Office, health officials, and the police, to build their capacity and improve their understanding of national laws that pertain to VAWG. WJI's legal staff work closely with the municipal government to coordinate and receive case referrals.

WJI also facilitates the development and implementation of Community Actions Plans, a participatory methodology that establishes community-based approaches to respond to and prevent VAWG and child marriage.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Indigenous peoples

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of women in project communities who sought legal services

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Indigenous peoples

Related Program

Women's Rights Education Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

In the 3 years that WJI implemented its Women's Rights Education program in several communities, 42% of participants sought legal aid from WJI, a 950% increase from baseline.

Percent of women program participants who believe violence should not be discussed outside of the family

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Indigenous peoples

Related Program

Women's Rights Education Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Context Notes

WJI saw a 57% decrease over the project period of women program participants who believed violence should not be discussed outside of the family.

Percent of women program participants who can identify 2 or more women's rights

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Indigenous peoples

Related Program

Women's Rights Education Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

WJI saw a 79% increase in Women's Rights Education program participants who could identify 2 or more women's rights.

Percent of women program participants who agree that in situations in which a husband abuses his wife, people who are not family should intervene

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Indigenous peoples

Related Program

Women's Rights Education Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

WJI observed a 37% increase in the women program participants who agreed that in situations in which a husband abuses his wife, people who are not family should intervene

Percent of women program participants who can identify 2 or more situations in which women should get support after experiencing violence

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Indigenous peoples

Related Program

Women's Rights Education Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

WJI observed a 73% increase in Women's Rights Education program participants who could identify 2 or more situations in which women should get support after experiencing violence

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

WJI works to prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG) and child marriage and improve access to justice for indigenous women in rural communities. WJI addresses the current gaps and barriers to justice that exist for rural Maya women and girls by providing them with geographically, culturally, and financially accessible education programs and legal services, 100% of which are offered in Kaqchikel, the local Mayan language. WJI’s programs implement a human-rights-based approach to advance gender equality and prevent and address violence against women and girls. WJI's approach empowers women to know and claim their rights and responds directly to the needs women identify in their communities.

WJI works at both the community and municipal levels to prevent VAWG and to ensure that Maya women and girls in rural communities in Guatemala have improved access to justice. WJI works to fill the gaps among existing social and legal services in rural areas, implementing community-based solutions to bolster national efforts to address gender-based violence. WJI’s rights-based methodology transforms norms and attitudes that view VAWG as acceptable. WJI’s success demonstrates that community-based responses, embedded within a strong existing legal framework, are feasible and necessary components of ending VAWG across Guatemala.

WJI operates four programs, employing an ecological approach that combines the implementation of comprehensive legal empowerment initiatives with mobile legal outreach and justice system capacity building:

1) Women’s Rights Education: provides indigenous women in rural areas with both knowledge of their rights and the skills necessary to protect those rights.
2) Legal Services: provides mobile legal outreach in Kaqchikel, the native Mayan language, in rural communities, sometimes incorporating video-conferencing technology to improve access to the hardest-to-reach communities and women with disabilities.
3) Community Advocates: trains local women to become leaders in their communities, accompany survivors of violence, conduct workshops on VAWG prevention, and mentor women and girls. Advocates are a key component of ensuring the sustainability of WJI’s work, as they continue to serve as a resource for women in their communities beyond WJI’s project implementation.
4) Adolescent Girls: educates adolescent girls on their rights, self-esteem, and the importance of delaying marriage.

WJI has found that its combined training and service delivery model is successful in empowering women to identify their legal needs and initiate legal processes both in cases of VAWG and in securing economic rights. By building the capacity of local institutions and collaborating with justice system actors, WJI also works to strengthen democratic functioning and improve the institutional response to cases of VAWG and child marriage in rural communities.

WJI was founded in 2011 to tackle gender inequality and VAWG in indigenous communities in Guatemala. WJI piloted its first program, the Women’s Rights Education Program, in one community with 15 participants. In 2012, it expanded the program into 5 additional communities. Between 2012 and 2015, WJI developed three complementary programs: the Legal Services Program, the Community Advocates Program, and the Adolescent Girls Program.

WJI has been steadily expanding since its first United Nations Democracy Fund grant was awarded in 2018. A multi-year grant from the Tinker Foundation followed in 2020. In 2021, WJI was awarded its second highly competitive three-year grant from the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, which facilitated its geographic expansion into two new municipalities. WJI now works in 73 communities in the municipalities of Patzún, Tecpán, San Juan Comalapa, San Martín Jilotepeque, and San José Poaquil. With increased financial support, WJI has been able to continue hiring more staff and expanding its program reach.

WJI now has a women-led team of 28 full-time staff members, nearly all of whom are Maya-Kaqchikel and from the communities WJI serves, with a profound understanding of the local cultural context. WJI has a horizontal structure in which all staff are involved in strategic decision-making processes and programmatic decisions are informed by the needs of participants. WJI is governed by a majority-female, ten-person Board of Directors that represents both Guatemala and the United States. WJI is consistently recognized as a local leader in responding to and preventing VAWG, proving that community-based approaches are a vital component in creating long-term change.

WJI’s legal empowerment work is achieving key results in rural areas of Guatemala. WJI:

1) Increases access to justice for Maya women and girls through legal aid programs, which empower them to assert and protect their rights, seek legal assistance for violence, and secure their economic rights.
2) Transforms existing social norms that view violence against women and girls (VAWG) as normal and acceptable.
3) Improves support for survivors of violence from local and municipal authorities.

WJI has directly served over 46,000 individuals since 2011, benefitting over 70,000 women, men and children. In 2021, 4,089 individuals in 56 rural communities participated in WJI’s programs.

Since its founding, WJI:

-Provided legal aid to over 2,000 women and their families.
-Trained more than 2,900 women and girls through its legal empowerment programs.
-Provided capacity-building workshops on VAWG to over 600 community leaders, police, and government officials.
-Enacted 32 Community Action Plans to prevent and combat child marriage and VAWG.
-Trained 82 women to become Community Advocates, or grassroots legal advocates, who provide long-term support for women and girls in their communities.

In the areas where WJI works, women’s attitudes about violence are changing: only 6% of WJI participants agreed that it is justified for a husband to abuse his wife, a 71% decrease from WJI’s baseline data. Community norms are changing as well. WJI experienced a 145% increase in case referrals from 2016 to 2017, a direct result of the trainings WJI conducts with local police and judicial and health officials.

WJI’s activities have a lasting impact in the communities it serves. After completing WJI’s programs, 42% of participants sought legal aid from WJI, whereas 4% of women reported having previously received legal aid. In a 2019 external evaluation, 100% of women affirmed that they felt stronger and safer after going through WJI’s programs and 98% of women reported that WJI has improved their lives. Furthermore, 95% of women said that WJI’s programs have supported them in preventing violence in their lives.

WJI plans to continue refining its model and scaling its work to more Kaqchikel-speaking communities throughout the Guatemalan highlands, where VAWG is endemic and gender equality remains pervasive. WJI will continue to partner with government entities, such as the Municipal Women's Offices (DMM), in order to better ensure sustainability. WJI also envisions sponsoring a scholarship for young Maya women to study law and then return to their municipalities to provide legal services through the DMM.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time

Financials

Womens Justice Initiative Inc
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Womens Justice Initiative Inc

Board of directors
as of 02/08/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Clara Ferraro

Tiger Global Management

Alejandra Colom

Fundación Ixcanul

Thea Handelman

Amazon

Katie Newman

Apollo Global Management

Brian Regan

Welsh, Carson, Anderson, & Stowe

Gabriela Roca

QIL+4 Abogados

Abigail Winkel

NYU School of Medicine

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/8/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/08/2024

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.